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Once upon a time, a striking 27-year-old Australian named Robyn Davidson embarked with her dog Digitty and four camels on a quixotic 1700 mile solo expedition across the island continent through the barren, unforgiving terrain of the outback. Without fanfare or publicity, Davidson’s trek seemed just an odd personal adventure until a young photographer named Rick Smolan crossed her path, and their story captured the world’s imagination. Now retold in TRACKS, an acclaimed new film from the Oscar winning producers of “The Kings Speech” (and in Smolan’s new “smartphone enabled” coffee table book INSIDE TRACKS), Davidson’s unlikely journey is inspiring a new generation. Smolan will share behind the scenes stories and images never seen before at his TEDxBeaconStreet talk.

Rick Smolan is a former Time, Life, and National Geographic photographer best known as the co-creator of the “Day in the Life” book series. His global photography projects feature the work of hundreds of the world’s leading photographers, and combine creative storytelling with state-of-the-art technology. In September 2014, the Oscar Winning Producers of “The Kings Speech” released TRACKS, a feature film based on Smolan’s National Geographic story about Robyn Davidson’s 2000 mile camel trek across the Australian outback. In the movie Robyn is portrayed by Mia Wasikowska (“Alice in Wonderland”. Smolan will be portrayed by Adam Driver, of HBO’s “Girls”).


About the Speaker

Rick Smolan

Rick Smolan

Rick Smolan, a former Time, Life, and National Geographic photographer, is best known as the creator of the “Day in the Life” book series. He is now the CEO of Against All Odds Productions, an author, a journalist, a photographer, a producer, a story-teller, and passionate speaker.

Today, Smolan directs massive crowd sourced projects which combine creative storytelling with state-of-the-art technology. Many of his books have appeared on the New York Times best-seller lists and have been featured on the covers of Fortune, Time, and Newsweek.

In the fall of 2012 Smolan released “The Human Face of Big Data” focusing on humanity’s new ability to collect, analyze, triangulate and visualize vast amounts of data in real time. They used various photographs, graphics, and information to make big data easier to comprehend and absorb on a more personal, relatable level. The project, sponsored by EMC, Cisco and SAP resulted in a large format book, an engaging iPad app, and a TV special. The book was delivered to 10,000 key influencers in 50 countries courtesy of FedEx. The project won a 2013 WEBBY award.

Against All Odds Productions has produced a number of ambitious global crowd sourcing projects. They combine creative storytelling with state-of-the-art technology in collaboration with hundreds of the world’s leading photographers, writers, and graphic designers, generating top-level publicity for themselves and their corporate sponsors. The average Against All Odds project attracts more than 300 million media impressions. America 24/7, for example, was featured in 47 of the nation’s 50 top-circulation newspapers as well as on The Today Show, CBS Sunday Morning, and Oprah.